The United States and Paraguay have an extensive relationship at the government, business, and personal level. Paraguay is a partner in hemispheric initiatives to improve counternarcotics cooperation, combat money laundering, trafficking in persons, and other illicit cross-border activities, and adequately protect intellectual property rights. The United States looks to Paraguay, which has substantial rainforest and riverine resources, to engage in hemispheric efforts to ensure sustainable development. Paraguay was deemed eligible in both 2004 and 2005 to participate in the Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) Threshold Country Program (TCP), which helps countries improve their governance, levels of investment in their citizens, and economic freedom, so they can qualify for the MCC's principal program. Paraguay submitted a formal TCP proposal in 2005. The United States and Paraguay also cooperate in a variety of international organizations.
Paraguay has taken significant steps to combat terrorism-financing activity in the tri-border area it shares with Argentina and Brazil. It participates in antiterrorism programs and fora, including the Three Plus One Security Dialogue, with its neighbors and the United States.
The United States strongly supports consolidation of Paraguay's democracy and continued economic reform, the cornerstones of cooperation among countries in the hemisphere. The United States has played important roles in defending Paraguay's democratic institutions, in helping resolve the April 1996 crisis, and in ensuring that the March 1999 change of government took place without further bloodshed.
Bilateral trade with the United States has increased over the last three years, after a steady decline over several years due to a long-term recession of the Paraguayan economy. Although U.S. imports from Paraguay were only $58.6 million in 2004, up from $53.3 million the previous year, U.S. exports to Paraguay in 2004 were $622.9 million, up from $483.6 million in 2003, according to U.S. Customs data. (Not all exports and imports are reflected in Paraguayan government data.) More than a dozen U.S. multinational firms have subsidiaries in Paraguay. These include firms in the computer, agro-industrial, telecom, banking, and other service industries. Some 75 U.S. businesses have agents or representatives in Paraguay, and more than 3,000 U.S. citizens reside in the country.
The U.S. Government has assisted Paraguayan development since 1942. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) currently supports a variety of programs to strengthen Paraguay's democratic institutions in the areas of civil society, local government and decentralization, national reform of the state, rule-of-law, and anti-corruption. Other important areas of intervention are economic growth, the environment and public health. The total amount of the program is approximately $8 million in fiscal year 2005.
The U.S. Department of State, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury provide technical assistance, equipment, and training to strengthen counter narcotics enforcement, combat trafficking in persons, promote respect for intellectual property rights, and to assist in the development and implementation of money laundering legislation and counter terrorism legislation.
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